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Birthdays and separation

Discussion in 'Personal' started by robyn147, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. My ex and I separated a few years ago. It's my son's 6th birthday soon. He normally spends a weeknight at my house and Saturday nights as well. His birthday "morning" is on a morning he would wake up at my house during the week before going to school. My ex and I have planned a family meal after school and he has a party at the weekend.
    There is no animosity between my ex and myself - we get on really well. Now comes the problem. She would like our son to be "in his bed at home" on his birthday - which I can see. But for the last 2 Christmases and birthdays he has always been "in his bed at home" and my ex has always been there for the excitement of waking up and opening presents.
    I'm not sure what to do - she is very attached to our son (obviously) but I would really like to be there when he wakes up. But on the other hand, I bet he would like to be in his own bed at home. I haven't asked him what he would like to do as I don't want to put any emotional pressure on him. And his emotional needs come first - which probably answers my question.
    Any advice / experience from parents in similiar situations? And before any one says "Well this is what you get if you leave so it's all your fault", it was a mutual decision.
  2. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    Is there any way you could go over in the morning and be there when he wakes up?
  3. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    'In his bed at hime' means he has 2 beds and 2 homes. He should be just as happy at yours as he is at his Mum's. If it just so happens his birthday falls when he is at yours then I'd let him stay at yours and wake up at yours, especially as you've both got nice things planned for him....together.
    I've been through this, and with 2 young step-children, am seeing it again. As you and your ex get on so well there really shouldn't be an issue and it's not fair (on you) or reasonable or even practical that your son always wakes up on birthdays and Christmas at his Mum's house.If you don't mention it to your son, or make an issue of it, I'm sure he'll be just as excited waking up at your house. I think your ex is asking this for her, not for your son.
    Have a great day anyway....I'm sure you will.
  4. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    I agree with you Belle. As a child of divorced parents, and a stepmother myself, I know the difficulties for both parents and child about splitting time and 'being fair'. I suppose I was just thinking, with my post above yours, that there will be many trials and tribulations along the way about these sort of issues and if dad could go over and be there when he wakes up then that would make everyone happy, and then they have their meal and the party later.
    To the OP, you are doing very well to be maintaining a good relationship with your ex. This, more than anything else, is what will matter as your son grows up. My parents hate each other, as do my husband and his ex. That makes things very hard.
  5. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    This is something I feel strongly about. Children who have two homes, should wake up and celebrate their special day (Birthday, Christmas etc.) wherever they are that day. Hopefully this would even out over the years so that both parents get to see the wake up excitment.
    My son has his children for the majority of time, (full time for the last year) but has not seen them in the morning on Christmas Day or Birthdays for about 4 years now. I can't think how this is fair, even though the children don't live with their mum she gets a court order for Christmas and Birthdays!

  6. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    That's how I feel KC. When my childrens' dad and I divorced we followed this course. Their Dad and I now get on very well indeed, best mates actually (!) and we get together for birthdays and Christmas....have done for years now....and it's great.
    When they were younger, the excitement of their birthdays was so great it really didn't matter to them where they woke up!
  7. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    I think that is so true Belle, and I think it matters more to parents than the children!
  8. How far away do you live? Get up at 5am (or whatever time) and go be with him to see him open his presents and have breakfast, if you get on well with your ex it shouldn't be a proble.
    Alternatively he could have two birthdays, if it's good enough for Paddington Bear and the queen..........
  9. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Brilliant! What kid would refuse 2 birthdays? [​IMG]
  10. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    Why? If the child's birthday falls on a day when he would normally be at robyn's house, why not stick to those arrangements?
    I like the idea of having two birthday's though, because I do. I am a Christmas Day baby and have always celebrated it in June.
  11. Well it could be doen the other way round, let mum come over so she gets to see the excitement as well.
  12. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    Why not indeed, that would be a good solution.
  13. I'm sure Mum would love to come round (although I live 30 mins drive from school and she is only 5 mins away). Thanks for contributions and certainly food for thought. Got a week (arrrgh) to decide - and got to get some more presents as well or he will be disappointed.
  14. mirigirl

    mirigirl New commenter

    Can I just butt in here? I don't have any advice to give - sorry! However, as a Divorce and childcare solicitor in a previous life, I wanted to say how wonderful I find it that there are people like you, Robyn, and the others who have offered you advice, that put the needs of their kids first and try to come up with solutions. It's heartbreaking looking at the poor kids who are caught in these wars as parents fight for every bit of the "best" time.

    Your son will love his birthday, because it won't be full of the two people he loves most in the world fighting and arguing over him....

    Best of luck with the arrangements.
  15. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    It sounds as though you have a reasonably easy going relationship with your ex, my ex is like that too and between us we usually manage to come up with the best solution for that particular event and there are no hard and fast rules.
    It has paid off in terms of our children not feeling stressed by arrangements. Although, having said that they have always been with me for Xmas morning but over the last 8 years we have done a combination of things from have joint celebrations to separate ones - it's really been very instinctive to be honest. A couple of years ago me, the kids and their dad all had a day at Whipsnade which was a really nice day. This year we did separate things to celebrate.
    Now mine are 11 and 13, it wouldn't be such a big thing to me if they were at their dad's for their birthday or Xmas but ,again, it would depend on what the kids wanted to do as well as us.
    I think maybe on this occasion, if it was me (and it's not of course) I would just let your son stay for the morning at your ex's house and just spend as much time with him as you can - it sounds as though you have lots of lovely things to enjoy altogether and I think he will have a lovely birthday.
    As they say ...the best laid plans and all that ....kids are so unpredictable anyway - you could over plan things and they can end up ill covered from head to toe in spots and temperature , or too hyper and then end up bursting into tears.
    I think just go with the flow on this but then as I said before, I haven't been in your particular situation of not having my children with me on their birthdays when they were little.
    I hope you all have a lovely day or days. I am having a birthday week;) and went out for 3 different birthday meals over the weekend...any excuse......lol.
  16. We started off with an assumption of keeping to the usual pattern of nights in each house from the start... and alternate houses for Christmas.. Mine are a bit older now, but usually only get a small present/cards from distant relatives (and maybe a birthday badge to wear to school!) in the morning... they wait for the evening for any bigger presents when both of us can be there. It was also a pragmatic decision that getting out to school on time is tricky in any case, so waiting until the evening causes less stress all round. At weekends when there is less pressure, the other parent usually comes round for breakfast. However, you obviously have to reach an agreement on this....
  17. Anonymous

    Anonymous New commenter

    Well he decided to sleep at his mum's house. Good thing too! He went to sleep at 10.30, woke at 2.30 and 4.30 convinced it was morning (well it was light) and finally woke at 7!! Mad rush for school so I rang him to wish him Happy Birthday and then picked him up after school. Then went to Mums (my ex) to open up my presents and Grans (model railway[​IMG]) and a family meal out.
    He has a party at weekend - lots to do to get ready for that. It must be great being 6!!

    Thanks for the advice.
  18. katycustard

    katycustard Occasional commenter

    Glad it went okay, and thanks for letting us know.
  19. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    Sounds like he had a lovely day, - that's because of the effort you both put into it.
    Does he see his dad at all? is that a complicating factor?
  20. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Really pleased you all had a good time, Robyn. x

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